Fantasy Baseball 2013 Spotlight: Ian Kinsler

By Matt Schumacher
Tim Heitman – US Presswire

Two years ago, Ian Kinsler could be summed up in just a couple of words—injury prone. Two trips to the DL cost him 59 games in 2010, capping off a five season stretch in which the Texas Rangers second baseman averaged only 124 games a season. For fantasy baseball players, he was about as frustrating as any player could get.

Now in 2013, that title has begun to fade.

After missing nearly 60 games in 2010, Kinsler missed only 12 in 2011 and 2012 combined. In that span, he had a league leading 1,454 plate appearances with 51 home runs and 51 stolen bases, not only flashing the kind of durability once thought impossible of the 30-year-old, but making his fantasy owners as happy as can be.

If you have a fantasy radar in 2013, Kinsler should be on it. He’ll head into this season with that injury cloud two years behind him, and if he can return to his 2009 or 2011 form in which he cranked out 30/30 seasons, he could very well be the best second baseman in the game this year—better than Robinson Cano, even.

He seriously could be.

The only detriment to Kinsler has been his average. It once hovered around .300 during the early years of his career, peaking at .319 in 2008, but the last couple of years have seen a significant dip down to the .250 range. That’s not a great cause for concern, though, because his best seasons, oddly enough, have been those in which he’s batted the worst. He hit .253 in 2009 and .255 in 2011, the two worst marks of his career, so don’t let his drop in average scare you away.

Be aware of his RBI, though.

Batting near the top of the Rangers order, Kinsler put up only 77 RBI in 2011 despite hitting 32 home runs. The century mark may be well out of reach as long as he bats leadoff or close to it, so don’t expect the kind of RBI production that can carry a team.

On the contrary, do expect at least 20 home runs and 20 steals with an average that could creep toward .300 and a run total well over 100 if he stays healthy. Kinsler has that kind of talent and he’s flashed it twice in the last four years so he can certainly do it again.

Going in the heart of the third round this year, Kinsler should be the top option on your second base draft board if you’re unwilling to spend a first round pick on Cano. By no means is he a first rounder himself, but don’t worry about reaching for the Rangers’ second baseman near the end of the second round.

Can’t argue with 30/30 talent.

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